Researchers still do not fully understand exactly what causes Parkinson’s disease, but they have identified a few risk factors that can predispose a person to develop this condition.
People who experience a sleep disorder that causes them to act out their dreams have a high risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
These include a person’s age and sex as well as some genetic factors. Still, it remains a challenge to establish early on who is likely to develop Parkinson’s disease at some point in their life.
This sleep problem is called RBD because it occurs during the REM phase of sleep, in which a person’s body becomes effectively paralyzed. This inability to move prevents the person from physically acting out any dream that they may be experiencing and thus stops them from potentially harming themselves or others.
People with RBD do not have this paralysis, which means that they end up acting out their dreams without any notion that they are doing so.